There are many occupations that I’ve had to admit would not be suitable for me, given both my personality and the traits that accompany my brain chemistry issues. I’m thinking today that real estate agent is definitely high on this list. I’d simply go nuts. I am going nuts right now, because I am waiting to hear about the latest place we are trying to rent. Our application has gone farther than they usually do, to the point where we’ve been asked/given an opportunity to explain some of what are often deal-breakers, so our hopes are up.
When I’m in a situation like this–when I have done all the footwork I can and the only thing to do is wait–the logical thing is to occupy my mind with something else. Compartmentalize; spend my energy in places where I can do some good at the moment. But if you think I possess a mind that obeys my directives, you must be new to the site.
A few days ago, in What’s That First Step Again?, I wrote about the need for me to apply the 12 steps to this kind of situation and actually try to turn the outcome over to my God. I also wrote about how I’ve been sucking at doing this. So I’m taking a moment, right now, between the back and forth of the phone calls, to acknowledge this need again. I don’t expect myself to go to a state of blissful detachment: of course I am excited and nervous, and of course I will feel frustrated if this all ends up back at square (as well as step) one. But I want to be in a spiritual enough place for these feelings not to control me.
My mind wants to scamper forward with plans and room layouts, or start worrying about deposits and moving. When I try to rein it in, it scampers the other direction and begins its dirge of regrets and if-onlys. How do I make my surrender real? How do I get to that place of trust? I’m trying to be honest with my God about my fears and wants, and I’m trying to be aware that I can’t control everything. As I often do, I’m also retreating to one of the few non-taboo sources of comfort I have: fantasy and science fiction.
In her novel Stormqueen, Marion Zimmer Bradley created a character who’s inspiring me at the moment. Allart Hastur is a nobleman who, like many of his relatives, has inherited genetically bred and mixed psychic powers. Allart has the gift of precognition, but in an unusual form. He can see multiple paths and outcomes at any given time, but without knowing which ones are true or which actions match with a certain outcome. Expected to learn swordsmanship with his peers, he fails miserably because he’s bombarded with images of every possible catastrophic wound or accident. Interacting with people becomes excruciating as he sees betrayal in every embrace and is haunted by calamitous visions of his loved ones dying.
I have a point to all of this. Honest.
The above is Allart’s back story. At the beginning of Stormqueen, Allart has been living in a monastery for several years. There he’s found some peace and learned better control over his fears in the predictable environment. Family matters force him to leave, and he’s thrown into an arranged marriage and political intriguing. Once again he finds himself drowning in visions, but he must function or others will suffer. He makes choices as well as he can, always with just enough precognition to make the choice more tormenting.
My point is that if Allart were here, he’d see my family living happily in that house. And he’d see us living there unhappily. And he’d see us getting rejected tomorrow and being sad. And he’d see us finding another place we like better. And he’d see us failing to find one, giving up and moving into a place we really don’t like. And he’d see a huge earthquake making the whole question pointless.
What goes in in Allart’s head is not so very different from what goes on in mine when my future tripping threatens to paralyze me. He had to learn to take action in the face of constant uncertainty, never being able to escape the presence of death. The strength and focus he uses to take an action anyway, and then move on to the next action, is a quality I need.
It’s later in the day now, and it’s unlikely that we will hear anything until at least tomorrow. I’ll have to try to get a little sleep and tackle tomorrow’s commitments without knowing the outcome yet. I haven’t come up with the perfect way to practice surrender about it, either.
Perfection? Allart doesn’t do perfection. Hopefully, my God doesn’t expect it of me either. But I looked for the place. I applied for the place. I showed up and followed up; I didn’t hide in the monastery while the kingdom disintegrated. I can have some pride in that, and I can (imperfectly) trust that I’ll be able to do it (imperfectly) again if I have to.